Title: Can't Go Home
Fandom: Grimm
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Nick/Monroe, Nick/Juliette background (not open relationship)
Summary: Post "Last Grimm Standing". Nick had never realized he felt this way about Monroe until he saw him lying in Taymor's pit.
Word Count: 1,160
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own words.

Such thoughts were not meant to be spoken, not even conceived of, not about one’s friend, not on his anniversary of all days, but right now, with the yells and cheers of this repulsive audience and Taymor’s shit-eating grin rending through his nerves, he can’t remember what day it is, can’t spare the brain cells or the time to think of anything other than Monroe lying a few yards away in the middle of a pit with a vicious foot pressing down on his chest, a mace hovering over his head, waiting only for Taymor’s word to swing down and smash through bone and sinew, and Monroe’s carefree comment about what it would feel like to have one of those things swing at you is suddenly so horrifyingly real that Nick’s hand clenched on his gun, nausea roiling in his stomach. He wanted to beat this son of a bitch for daring to go near Monroe, for throwing him into a fight he couldn’t possibly win and laugh while Monroe struggled for his life, so close to losing it, so horrifyingly close. If Nick had driven just one mile slower on the road or taken just a second longer to press his gun to Taymor’s neck, Monroe would already be dead, his face a mess of sinew and blood. The image made bile rise in Nick’s throat.

Monroe stared at him, exhausted, pained, desperate, expression screaming “please get me out of here, please.” Nick met his eyes, a decision made in the flash of a second.

“I’ll fight in the Blutbad’s place.”

He didn’t know he would win, didn’t know if he could, but he would get Monroe out of there alive. That was all he cared about. Nothing else mattered.

It didn’t crash down on him until now, little whispers of affection and fear and “why now, why him?” swelling in his chest since he calmed down long enough give Hank an abridged explanation of how the hell he’d ended up fighting in the pit. He looked in the direction Monroe had disappeared into, wondering how Monroe was going to get home with no car to get him there. Nick searched for him afterward among the mass of the arrested and the injured, but as he feared, he couldn’t find anywhere. It ate at him as he drove back, watching the road for any hint of a person walking on the side, cursing the darkness preventing him from seeing anything off the gravel. He slowed down when he saw a canine figure near an intersection, but it was a mutt, not a wolf, and he sagged in his seat, unclenching his fingers from the steering wheel. Pressing the accelerator, he continued on his way home to Juliette, to the ruins of an anniversary dinner quickly excused by the life and death scenario he’d just come from, his “I love you” automatic, a reflex, his eyes on the windows as if at any moment, Monroe would pop his head up.

He didn’t sleep, not for a second, his thoughts far away from the woman at his side and on an injured Monroe somewhere out there in the cold, in the rain, such phrases not empty clichés when water clattered down outside and his own body ached from lesser blows.

The next morning, he knocked on Monroe’s door at 6:15, praying, begging for Monroe to be there. Monroe answered, a hunched over shell of yesterday’s self, the cuts and jabs he’d suffered making him stiff and sore, bruises shining purple and yellow on his face, left cheek swollen, eyes glassy, a mirror image of when the reapers had attacked him. Guilt stabbed through Nick, an invisible blade twisting in his gut, for he had put Monroe in danger. If he hadn’t asked Monroe for that tip or let him go to that meeting alone, this would never have happened. He had risked Monroe’s life so many times. How could he had done that? How could he ever?

“I’m fine, Nick. Really. I’ll be well again in no time.”

“You’re not. Look at you. You can barely stand up straight. It’s my fault.”

“It’s not your fault, Nick.”

“Of course it is. I sent you there. You almost died.”

“But I didn’t. You saved me. Thank you for that, by the way. You have the best timing in the whole damn universe.”

Nick didn’t. He really, really didn’t. For it had been his anniversary last night. Three long, happy years with Juliette, his girlfriend, whom he loved and had been this close to proposing to until such joyful plans were dashed by his inheritance and the Wesen world and needing to keep Juliette safe and not thinking he was a lunatic. Dashed by a handsome Blutbad who wore too much corduroy and offered him coffee and bagels after Nick barged into his home at 6:30 in the morning a week after accusing him of kidnapping, who helped him out even when he didn’t have to, who did anything Nick asked just because Nick said he trusted him and because Monroe was such a nice guy and who knew why, really. And Nick had taken advantage because people were missing and his aunt was lying in a hospital bed dying of cancer while reapers were hunting her down. And he liked hanging out with Monroe, hearing the excited tone in his voice when he explained a new element of the Wesen world, sharing a beer, drinking his delicious coffee, and all the million little details that all coalesced in a warm feeling in his chest, so contented, so at home. He’d never noticed when he’d started looking forward to coming here more than his own home until now, while sitting next to Monroe on the couch, watching him grimace as he rubbed his lower back, pain etched in his beautiful face, and Nick realized how close he’d come to losing him. Suddenly, he was reaching forward, grabbing Monroe by the back of the neck and…


He kissed Monroe.

He’d just kissed Monroe.

They stared at each other, the air silent, even their breaths held still. Monroe’s startled eyes looked wider still due to the proximity of their faces, his skin blushing hot under Nick’s hands, mouth open in shock.

Nick let go and jumped off the couch, running for the door, mumbling, “I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to. I don’t know why I… I’m really sorry. Please forgive me” before running out, ignoring Monroe’s calls, pretending he didn’t hear, a knot wrenching in his throat when Juliette flashed in his mind and he imagined her finding out, the betrayal, the tears, the pain, he was always causing people pain now, but as he slammed his car door shut and twisted the key in the ignition, jerking into the street, the only thing he could see was Monroe standing on his front steps watching Nick leave.

That is what hurt most of all.
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